External and Internal Audit

The Library’s Audit Committee met three times to consider external and internal audit reports.

Australian National Audit Office Reports

Australian National Audit Office reports containing Auditor-General recommendations implemented by the Library during 2011–12 were:

  • Green Office Procurement and Sustainable Office Management (2008–09, No. 25)
  • Direct Source Procurement (2010–11, No. 11)
  • Capitalisation of Software (2010–11, No. 14)
  • The Protection and Security of Electronic Information Held by Australian Government Agencies (2010–11, No. 33)
  • Development and Implementation of Key Performance Indicators to Support the Outcomes and Outputs Framework (2011–12, No. 5)
  • Information and Communications Technology Security: Management of Portable Storage Devices (2011–12, No. 18).
  • Establishment and Use of Procurement Panels (2011–12, No. 31)
  • Development and Approval of Grant Program Guidelines (2011–12, No. 36).

Internal Audit Reports

The Audit Committee considered a number of internal audit reports, as listed on page 23.

Parliamentary Committees and Government Inquiries

The Library made a submission responding to the Attorney-General’s public consultation
paper, Extending Legal Deposit, and a submission responding to the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper.

Ministerial Directions

Under section 48A of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Finance Minister) may make a General Policy Order specifying an Australian Government general policy applicable to the Library, provided the Finance Minister is satisfied the Minister for the Arts has consulted the Library on the application of the policy. No General Policy Orders applying to the Library were made in 2011–12, although Council provided input into a General Policy Order proposing that the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines apply to agencies operating under the CAC Act. The Australian Government general policies that apply to the Library under section 28 of the CAC Act are:

  • Foreign Exchange Risk Management Policy
  • Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines
  • National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry.

Legal Action

A claim that was lodged in the ACT Supreme Court in 2003 on behalf of Wagdy Hanna and Associates Pty Ltd, seeking damages for an alleged disclosure of information in respect of a 1996 tender process for one of the Library’s offsite storage facilities, remains outstanding. The court proceedings were held in December 2008, with Justice Richard Refshauge reserving his decision. The Library is awaiting the judgment.


During 2011–12, no issues relating to the Library were referred to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Australian Human Rights Commission

A visitor has lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging that the Library indirectly discriminated against the person on the grounds of disability. The Library is defending the claim and its actions, asserting there has been no unlawful discrimination.

Freedom of Information

The Library received and granted access to two requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and a third was received on 30 June 2012. 

In December 2011, the Library was advised that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner had closed an application for a review of a Library FOI decision in 2010–11. The commissioner advised that the application was invalid and the matter is finalised.

Agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Each agency must display on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with IPS requirements. The Library complies with IPS requirements and a link to the scheme is provided on the Library’s website (nla.gov.au/corporate-documents/information-publication-scheme).

Indemnities and Insurance Premiums

The premiums under the Library’s insurance coverage with Comcover encompass general liability, directors’ and officers’ indemnity, property loss, damage or destruction, business interruption and consequential loss, motor vehicles, personal accidents and official
overseas travel.

The Library’s insurance premium received an 8.8 per cent discount as a result of its performance measured by Comcover’s Risk Management Benchmarking Survey. Under the terms of the insurance schedule of cover, the Library may not disclose its insurance premium price.

The Library continued to be represented at the Insurance and Risk Management Corporate Insurance Forum of cultural agencies, which holds regular meetings with Comcover to discuss insurance issues.

Social Justice and Equity

The Library serves a culturally and socially diverse community and aims to make its collection accessible to all. The Library’s collection includes material in over 300 languages. Its programs and services are developed with an emphasis on public accessibility and adhere to the principles outlined in the Australian Government’s Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Community. The Library is conscientiously implementing the charter and seeks to provide all Australians with the opportunity to access documentary resources of national significance. In particular, during 2011–12 the Library:

  • provided an introductory program to 75 international students of non-English-speaking backgrounds
  • provided exhibition and education tours for adults and young people with special needs, including Alzheimer’s Australia, Canberra College Year 11 Special Needs Unit and senior citizens groups
  • continued an ongoing customer service training program for front-of-house staff, including mental health awareness
  • supported community projects, including the National Year of Reading, National Reconciliation Week, the Indigenous Literacy Project, National Simultaneous Storytime, Children’s Book Week, Get Reading! and Libraries and Information Week
  • supported the development of youth arts activities through events and education programs
  • offered a range of assistive technologies in the reading rooms to help people with sight, hearing or mobility impairments to access the collection and use the full range of services
  • commissioned Vision Australia to undertake an accessibility audit of the Trove interface; redeveloped the interface to ensure that sight-impaired users are able to fully engage with this service
  • upgraded equipment to support visitors with physical disabilities, including the installation of handrails in the Theatre, the upgrade of wheelchairs and the installation of hearing loops in Library venues
  • hosted a tour for organisations that represent Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, as part of the events marking the second anniversary of the National Apology 
  • developed four short animated online videos about Library services to support user autonomy and to appeal to visual learners 
  • continued to offer small group instructional sessions on topics such as effective web searching and Trove for beginners
  • provided gratis copies of historical photographs to support Indigenous communities celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Gurindji people’s Wave Hill Walk-off and the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy
  • enhanced access to 1,200 photographs relating to Indigenous country and community, with assistance from Pitjantjatjara, Larrakia, Gurindji and Arnhem Land communities, to improve captions describing people, places and activities, including names of language and clan groups
  • continued to digitise photographic material for inclusion in the Pitjantjatjara Council’s Ara Irititja database
  • continued the project to document contemporary Indigenous dance through oral history interviews with first wave dancers, including Monica Stevens, Michael Lesley and Stephen Page, and with other Indigenous people, such as Professor Larissa Behrendt, referendum activist Uncle Ray Peckham and Gunbalanya artist Jimmy Namarnyilk
  • delivered 1,100 oral history interviews as online audio, including ten interviews with ‘Stalin’s Poles’ (Polish-Australians who were refugees in Stalinist Russia), 65 interviews with Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants and six interviews with Indigenous Australians about the effect of the Apology to the Stolen Generations. 

Service Charter

The Library’s Service Charter sets out its commitment to users, the standards of service
that users can expect and the mechanisms for providing feedback or making a complaint. Revised in 2011–12, the Service Charter is available online (nla.gov.au/service-charter) and
as a print publication.

During 2011–12, the Service Charter standards were met as follows:

  • 96.2 per cent of general reference inquiries were answered within standards (target 90 per cent)
  • 93 per cent of collection items were delivered within standards and timeframes (target 90 per cent)
  • the Library’s website was available 24 hours a day for 99.9 per cent of the time (target 99.5 per cent).

The Library welcomes feedback and suggestions for service improvements. Feedback forms are placed throughout the Library and on the website (nla.gov.au/feedback). In 2011–12, 258 formal compliments and 126 formal complaints were received from users, as indicated in Tables 2.1 and 2.2.

Table 2.1: Compliments Received, 2011–12

Information and
online services
to individuals


  • quality, professionalism, responsiveness and dedication of staff
  • quality and speed of response to inquiries and delivery of collection material
  • quality of reproduction services
  • quality of website

Public Programs activities


  • quality of tours and support for educational visits
  • quality of events program
  • quality of publications
  • quality of exhibitions

Facilities and support 


  • quality of food services
  • quality of Ground Floor refurbishment 




 In addition, several hundred informal compliments were received from users of the Library’s Trove, Australian Newspapers and Copies Direct services.

Table 2.2: Complaints Received, 2011–12

The collection


  • cataloguing information for collection material 
  • collecting of digital format material 
  • online access to collection material

Information and online services to individuals


  • access to e-resources
  • access to research resources
  • delays, misunderstandings and perceived lack of assistance relating to requesting/receiving and discharging material
  • reader registration processing
  • reproduction and inter-library lending fees
  • restricted access to the collection
  • users engaged in noisy behaviour
  • website redesign
  • wireless connectivity problems and slow response times

Public Programs activities


  • content and display of exhibitions

Facilities and support 


  • bag restrictions in reading rooms
  • building works noise and related issues, including reduced access to collection material
  • car-parking availability
  • food services
  • handling of some security incidents
  • space availability in the Main Reading Room during busy periods
  • closure of the reading rooms over the Christmas period




 The Library provided explanations and/or apologies in response to all complaints and undertook remedial action to address them as appropriate. Complaints relating to car parking were referred to the National Capital Authority as the responsible body.

Consultancy Services

The Library entered into 31 new consultancy contracts during 2011–12, at a total actual expenditure of $741,491 (inclusive of GST). Major new consultancies involved the development of software for the Integrated Library Management System interface, the redesign of the Foyer and an energy review of lighting throughout the main building. Appendix E lists the new consultancies with an individual value of $10,000 or more. In addition, 16 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the same period, involving total actual expenditure of $592,545.

Advertising and Market Research

Advertising and market research in excess of $11,000 for non-recruitment and non-tender services amounted to $72,000 (inclusive of GST), contracted to Adcorp Australia Ltd for newspaper advertising promoting the Library.